Science & Technology

Mysterious 'Rogue Planet' Roams the Stars Alone, Not So Far From Earth

August 13, 2018

Researchers have detected a rogue planet traveling the void between stars some 20 light years away. Rogue planets or brown dwarfs (which this might be) aren’t exactly rare, cosmologically speaking, but they tend to be very difficult to see. And yet, the way we found this particular planet/brown dwarf suggests we might locate other similar stellar objects through an application of the same technique.

Red-hot voyage to sun will bring us closer to our star

August 12, 2018

NASA's Parker Solar Probe will be the first spacecraft to "touch" the sun, hurtling through the sizzling solar atmosphere and coming within just 3.8 million miles (6 million kilometers) of the surface. It's designed to take solar punishment like never before, thanks to its revolutionary heat shield that's capable of withstanding 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius).

Do We Need a Space Force? That Depends on Our Answers to These Legal and Strategic Questions

August 12, 2018

The current plan for reorganizing the Pentagon’s space acquisition efforts and operations  U.S. consists of four components: (1) forming a new combatant command, (2) pulling together a new warfighting community for space operations from all the other service branches, (3) creating a new joint agency to procure satellites for the military, and if everything goes well, ask Congress to (4) stand up “an entirely new branch of the military with services and support functions such as financial management and facilities construction.”

Semiautonomous Cars Have Flaws. That's Why They Need Tests

August 09, 2018

These days, modern cars come with sophisticated driver assistance tools, like adaptive cruise control, which maintains a set distance from the car in front, and active steering, which keeps a vehicle in its lane. They can also brake automatically if the driver doesn’t spot a stopped object ahead, and warn when there’s a motorbike hovering in a driver’s blind spot.

China has outspent the US by $24 billion in 5G technology since 2015, study shows

August 09, 2018

China has in recent years outspent the U.S. by $24 billion in the area of next-generation mobile internet technology known as 5G, potentially creating a "tsunami" that will be difficult to catch up with, according to a Deloitte study published Tuesday.

Curiosity Rover Begins Its 7th Year on Mars Still Going Strong

August 09, 2018

It was a crazy idea on the face of it -- sending a $2.5 billion robot to another planet with a complex rocket sled contraption to get it safely to the surface. It worked, though, and Curiosity began its exploration of the red planet six years ago. As the rover begins its seventh year on Mars, let’s look at how it got there and where it’s going.

America Is Not Ready for Exploding Drones

August 09, 2018

Top U.S. officials, including FBI director Christopher Wray, have warned that America is vulnerable. Washington, D.C., for example, has what Department of Homeland Security officials have called “the most tightly controlled airspace in the country;” it’s illegal to fly drones anywhere in the District. And yet: In 2015, an off-duty government employee managed to crash a drone onto the White House lawn.

Russia Is Slowly Declining As a Space Superpower

August 08, 2018

Complaints about Chinese acquisition of Russian rocket technology have become a common refrain in Russian state media. (The Kremlin exercises heavy influence over Lenta.ru’s editorial decision-making, like many of the country’s media outlets.) China is now close to a working copy of the Soviet-designed yet still effective RD-180 rocket engine, due to what Russia has painted as a multi-decade ripoff of its technology.

NASA names nine 'American hero' astronauts for SpaceX, Boeing missions

August 08, 2018

NASA has announced the nine astronauts that will crew the test flights and first missions of the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing CST-100 Starliner spacecraft. Crew for the Starliner test flight are NASA astronauts Eric Boe and Nicole Aunapu-Mann and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson. NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have been selected to take part in the Crew Dragon test flight.

Opposition to a Space Force Simmers in the Senate

August 07, 2018

The Pentagon is in the final stages of preparing a report to lawmakers laying out the groundwork for the change, including initial steps they can make without Congress. But the final step--officially creating a new service branch—will require legislative authorization. And it is Senate Republicans who could stand in the way of Trump’s so-called Space Force; the House has already signaled its support for the move.

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